The first POCO phone to release this year (together with its Pro cousin) is the POCO X5 5G– now think about it: is it worth the wait?
Let’s get down to the absolute truth here: the last year’s POCO X4 Pro 5G also bears the same processor, design language, and most of the basic features here. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing because that’s how it should be in the ever-changing, fast-paced world of smartphone technology.
But what does the POCO X5 have in store for us? And is it worth the upgrade? And if it’s your first time buying a POCO phone, will this be a solid choice for your daily needs?
We will skip the unboxing part since we have a separate article below, click the embedded link:
With that on the way, let’s hop on with the POCO X5’s design and choice of material.
The Poco X5 5G continues down the same path as the brand’s earlier products. It is safe to say that POCO is a bit more conservative when it comes to its design. In case you miss the other message, the largest camera island will have a large POCO badge, people will still catch a waft of the eccentric roots of the brand with its name being larger if not the same as the camera island.
The left side of the black box is the only raised “island” in terms of technicality; the rest is flush with the back panel, but the hint of a decent camera is there. After all, the island design is being shared with POCO and Redmi now.
The resolution of the primary camera is indicated by a single 48MP label — kinda minimalistic and also lacking when compared to Redmi’s offerings. The whole POCO labeling merges with the matte black section. A sign of design maturity? You decide.
The Poco X5’s front is somewhat unremarkable, but we’d consider that a benefit for a device with a relatively low price point because it means it won’t stick out in a negative way.
It’s discreet and inoffensive. You’re getting a phone that looks contemporary thanks to reasonable-sized bezels and a small selfie camera opening.
Even though the Gorilla Glass 3 that guards the display is a little dated, it is very well designed to prevent scratches rather than breaking easily, thankfully– the pre-attached tempered glass will make the POCO X5 protected.
The phone does feel just right when in use—not it’s too heavy, not too big, and is actually quite thin. Although the rear panel tends to show some smudges and isn’t particularly grippy, it is generally average in both areas. That accurately describes the actual experience: average but good. The POCO X5 succeeds in the balancing act yet again.
The Poco X5’s 6.67-inch OLED display, one of its highlights, has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, which is speedy and responsive as usual. A 20:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1080×2400 pixels yield a pixel density of 395 ppi, again–decent.
The outdoor brightness is listed as reaching 700 nits which is not that much considering this is an OLED panel but is still pretty usable in outdoor situations, and the touch sampling rate is specified as being up to 240Hz. The support for HDR video is not mentioned, and there’s no Dolby Vision support either. And that’s just fine.
BATTERY, CHARGING and SPEAKER
The Poco X5 has an adapter compatible with its 33W charging capacity. The Poco X5 took just over an hour to charge using the supplied adapter, with the battery indicator showing 61% at the halfway point and 32% in the first 15 minutes. The X5’s speed is similar to that of the POCO M4 Pro 5G, and again– not that fast, but not that slow. You can easily last a day or two with this phone under normal use. When doing heavy tasks such as gaming, it’s still pretty solid, ranging from 5-7 hours of screen time.
Sadly, the POCO X5 has a single down-firing speaker, which is somehow lacking due to the lack of stereo quality and less immersive sound quality compared to other phones with dual speakers. The loudness is somewhat alright, but not to write home about.
The Poco X5 runs MIUI 13 for Poco on top of Android 12 as opposed to the X5 Pro, which uses a more recent MIUI 14 but is still based on Android 12. With a few minor Poco twists, the interface is more or less standard MIUI.
There is always-on display functionality, but it only works in name and can only be used for 10 seconds after a tap. At the very least, there are numerous AOD themes available, and many of them can be altered.
Themes have always been a significant component of MIUI, and they are still present in MIUI 13—including on the Poco build. They can change your background images, ringtones, system icons, and even the look of your always-on display.
You can download new ones from the Themes store. There are also Super Wallpapers available. There are three multimedia apps that are exclusive to MIUI: Gallery, Music, and Mi Video (both with local and streaming options). Additionally included is an MIUI File manager. Of course, there is also a Mi Remote app that makes use of the built-in IR blaster.
Game Turbo, which is widely accessible on other MIUI-powered smartphones, serves as both a launcher for your games and an in-game tool to enhance your gaming experience. It has traditional features like screen recording and notification restriction.
Memory Extension is a feature available in MIUI 13 and is turned on by default (you can disable it if you like). You can allocate 2 GB or 5 GB of internal storage as a RAM extension.
The Snapdragon 695 chipset, a well-liked no-frills platform for obtaining 5G capability in the midrange market, is the foundation of the Poco X5. The CPU is an octa-core Kryo 660 Gold and Kryo 660 Silver in a 2+6 configuration, and the GPU is an Adreno 619.
There are two memory configurations: 8GB/256GB and 6GB/128GB (as tested). Here are the ideal settings within games such as Call of Duty: Mobile, Diablo Immortal, Genshin Impact, Mobile Legends, and the latest AnTuTu score.
On its back, the Poco X5 has a standard 2+1 camera setup with a 48MP primary camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a simple 2MP “macro” camera. For your selfies, a 13MP front-facing camera offers a resolution that is above average.
The primary camera is built around the OmniVision OV48B sensor, one of the business’s first 4-cell (Quad Bayer) models. The ultrawide camera uses an 8MP OmniVision sensor with a 1/4.4″ optical format and 1.0m pixels. In front of it are a lens of unspecified equivalent focal length (but with slightly narrower coverage than most) and an f/1.8 aperture.
The fixed-focus lens has an f/2.2 aperture and is designed to have a 118-degree field of view.
Through the punch hole in the display, the Samsung 3L6 selfie camera sensor is visible. The Poco X5 persists in disabling the Auto HDR toggle, so you have to remember to enable it every time, or at least in more demanding lighting.
Even so, since the two available options are ‘Auto’ and ‘Off,’ you can’t really force it on and there are times when small changes in framing can influence whether the Auto HDR is enabled. Dynamic range is fairly constrained, with a sharp roll-off to black and white at the extremes, HDR or no HDR.
Despite occasionally being a little cool in outdoor scenes, white balance is generally reliable. The saturation is really good. Results from the ultrawide are similarly unremarkable when viewed in isolation but largely suitable for the class.
Although noise is once again very apparent, whether, in the skies or the darker areas of the image, detail is respectable for an 8MP camera. It is reasonable to assume that the dynamic range will be limited. White balance is reliable, and colors are pleasing.
The Poco X5 doesn’t have an Auto Night mode as higher-end Xiaomi phones do, and the Auto HDR situation is the same as it is during the day. To make the most of high-contrast scenes with dark areas and point light sources, you’ll most likely want to ensure it’s turned on when shooting at night.
The close-up capabilities of the X5 are, to put it mildly, about on par with other comparable 2MP implementations. When trying to shoot an image, you might appreciate it in the viewfinder and then perhaps on the device’s screen as well, so that’s something. However, a closer look reveals that there isn’t a lot of detail in these, noise and pixelation are obvious, and the dynamic range is relatively small.
The Poco X5’s portrait mode is actually quite good—almost surprisingly so. It does a fantastic job of detecting subjects, and the appropriate default blur level results in a very convincing rendition. Selfies can be taken with HDR, and by default, the phone has HDR turned off.
The video quality however, to tread lightly– is average at best.
WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT THE POCO X5
✔️ Long-lasting battery life
✔️ Nice large display with superb colors
✔️ Speedy 120Hz refresh rate
✔️ Legacy features are here (memory card slot, headphone jack, and a free IR blaster)
✔️ Decent gaming performance
WHAT WE DISLIKE ABOUT THE POCO X5
➖Less than inspiring overall look
➖ Only has 1080p recording
➖Still on Android 12
➖Kinda pricey for its processor inside
The POCO X5 is the definition of balance. From its specs to its design, this smartphone is a great and well-rounded overall daily driver, but expecting more out of it can be challenging.